A Newark Airport traveler shivered violently, the left side of her face drooping, as Port Authority Police Mark Burkhardt and Jason Nielsen responded to an urgent call for help from a cleaner.
The officers thought she was having a stroke or a seizure, helped the woman breathe and monitored her vital signs until paramedics arrived.
Commanders only realized the gravity of Lisa Kirby’s situation when her husband called to thank them, said Lenis Valens, spokeswoman for the port authority.
It turned out that she had suffered brain aneurism, Valens said.
“If there was a missing link, my wife wouldn’t have been here today,” Michael Kirby told the PAPD.
The couple had arrived from Indiana waiting for a connecting flight to Aruba when Lisa Kirby fell ill next to a bathroom in Terminal C on Jan. 16, Valens said.
She was rushed to Newark University Hospital and had only a 20% chance of survival, Valens said.
After surgery and more than three weeks in intensive care, Kirby is “much better, with a good prognosis of full recovery,” the spokeswoman said.
In fact, she will be released from the hospital on Saturday.
Michael Kirby requested to meet with everyone who had helped save his wife on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, before they went home.
That can be arranged, said Valens.
“We at the Port Authority couldn’t be happier for you, your husband and the rest of your family,” she said.
The heroes said they were just doing their job.
“It is very rewarding to know that I have contributed to this,” said Burkhardt. “As a police officer, I always want to help save lives. I did what any other officer in my position would have done. We all worked together to save their lives. “
“This is an example of what police officers do on a daily basis at the port authority,” added Nielsen. “Everyone came together and did their part that morning.”
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